What to Do About Swollen Gums?

If your gums are tender, red and swollen, it can be difficult to eat and painful to floss or brush your teeth. When determining what to do about swollen gums, you need to consider what is the cause of the inflammation. Many, but not all, instances of swollen gums are due to poor oral hygiene. Ascertaining what prompted the gums to swell can help you figure out the best course of action.

  1. Improper Tooth Brushing

    • One of the causes of swollen gums is simply improper tooth brushing. When brushing your teeth, you should hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Brush in a circular motion as you try to ease the bristles up under the gums to remove plaque. If you brush on top of the gums, you can cause them to bleed and swell. If your swollen gums are caused by brushing improperly or brushing too vigorously, rinse your mouth for a few days with a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water to decrease the swelling and begin brushing using the correct method.

    Ill-Fitting Dentures

    • Another cause of swollen gums is dentures that do not fit properly. Have your dentist adjust your dentures. If the dentures are older, they may need to be relined, in which the dentist takes a current impression of your mouth and remakes the dentures to fit your mouth. It is much less expensive than purchasing new dentures.

    Prescription Medications

    • If your medications are causing your gums to swell, it is important that you notify the prescribing physician. He may be able to prescribe a similar medication that does not have this side effect.

    Poor Nutrition or Malnutrition

    • If you are not getting enough food or are not eating the proper foods, the result may be swollen gums. Be sure to eat foods from the five major food groups each day. Eat meat, vegetables, fruits, dairy products and bread. If you are pregnant, it is even more important to eat properly, as many pregnant women suffer from swollen gums during pregnancy. Also be careful when you eat sharp or crunchy foods, which can poke into the gums and cause them to bleed and swell.


    • Gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, is one of the most common causes of swollen gums. When plaque is allowed to remain on the gums too long, it causes the gums to bleed and swell. According to the April 2005 edition of Science Daily, the FDA has approved an oral rinse called Decapinol to treat gingivitis. Consult your dentist for more information about the rinse. He may also refer you to a periodontist to treat the gingivitis.

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